Samoa scalp the Northampton Saints

Samoa limbered up for the forthcoming Rugby World Cup by recording a tense 24-21 victory over Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday.

A record pre-season crowd of 8,122 turned up to see what amounted to a trial match, and there were positive signs from both sides.

Despite the loss, new Saints boss Jim Mallinder will have been pleased with his side’s performance, particularly from new signings Barry Stewart and James Downey.

Stewart put Saints 6-0 in front with Bruce Reihana looking back to his best as he burst through several tackles early on.

And the forwards were doing the business with Darren Fox being the first to getting over the whitewash on 26 minutes.

Fox caught a five-metre line-out, turned and powered over for the try. A third Stewart penalty on 34 minutes put Saints 16-3 in front.

But on the stroke of half-time a Saints line-out on their 22 went badly wrong and from the loose ball Samoa swept over the line with prop David Kerslake claiming the try with Loki Crichton converting to make it 16-10 at the break.

Samoa stepped up a gear after the break with Saints making a host of substitutions, but not before Will Harries scored nine minutes into the half.

The senior academy wing was on the end of a move started when Damien Browne spotted the overlap and looped a pass to Mark Easter. Stephen Myler missed the conversion.

But Samoa’s replacements, particularly Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu and Junior Polu were making the bigger impression and Jerry Meafou picked up a loose ball to score under the posts.

And the visitors took the lead 12 minutes later when a sweeping move from a scrum on the Saints’ line saw Lome Fa’atau touch down. Loki Crichton converted both tries.

He was then sin-binned after an altercation with countryman Paul Tupai, but Samoa held on for the win.

The scorers:

For Northampton Saints:
Tries: Fox, Harries
Con: Everitt
Pen: Everitt 3

For Samoa:
Tries: Kerslake, Meafou, Fa’atau
Cons: Crichton 3
Pen: Crichton

Yellow card(s): Fa’atau (Samoa) – fighting, 72

With thanks to Northampton Saints 365 Digital

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